Lockdown, impacting parents and children especially women and single mothers?
It’s been tough and challenging times for parents, single mothers and traditional stay at home mothers who have been forced to home school their children without proper training or experience.
This has been challenging for many parents who have had to juggle working from home and home schooling. Where before there was an outdoor environment, now we have had to go online and stay indoors.
Sherpa Kids has had to look at how we can change child care models to fit the new ‘normal.’ As well as look at how Sherpa Kids are going to support these families.
What we have found is that parents are not getting a break from working at home and are having to home school and provide after school care. This has put an enormous strain on some families, and women especially.
Previously parents got some down time and time to unwind while driving to work, going to lunch, having tea breaks, chatting with their colleagues and their days generally ended at 5pm. Now they have had to take care of their children 24/7 as well as running their own business, meeting deadlines or keeping up with the demands from their employers. Many parents we found are trying to keep all these balls in the air and are suffering from zoom fatigue. We have had to take a hard look at how we can support these families. It’s all new territory for us. It’s a case of not the struggle but the juggle.
Many parents have now chosen to continue with home schooling. Some children have returned to school and some only attend school on alternate days. So it’s a case of how can we juggle this and what opportunities are there for businesses who, in the past, operated outdoors and engaged in tactile games?
People are generally spending more time working and having back to back meetings. What kind of example is this setting for our children that we have to work 24/7 in order to be successful. Most of it is based on fear. Fear of losing your job if you don’t put in the extra hours. Working more and longer hours, not because you want to but because you have to so as not lose your job.
This is where a franchise opportunity can be a life saver because you can be your own boss and not have the sword of Damocles hanging over your head if you don’t conform and become a slave to the system.
Today we have what we call hybrid schooling. This is where children are doing a blend of classroom and online learning. Home schooling has become very popular now.
We are working with parent focus groups so that we can get a better understanding of what the needs are of both parents and children.
What we have found is that now children are choosing their preferred extra mural activities. Unlike in the past where they were forced to turn up for a sport they had no interest in. This is making them more independent and self determined. It’s no longer the old factory style model of schooling where one size fits all model.
Businesses have had to adapt and change what they have been offering because the client base has changed to where the child has now become the client. So we have to innovate and offer what our clients need.
Education and medicine are the two sectors that are going to be the most affected by changes in technology.
This pandemic is allowing education to be radically changed. Everyone involved in education now needs to sit back and think about the changes. What was done before is changing. This world is being turned upside down. However, sadly, a large proportion of the population have no idea what’s going on.
Now you’re looking at how robotics will become the future and people need to start looking at how they can reposition themselves. We cannot continue to do what we have been doing for the past 10 years or more. Everything we knew and did is radically changing.
Most parents have very limited expectations when they think of after care. Most think that it is simply a babysitting service where the children are helped with their homework, are being fed and are safe and secure. However, what we do is to engage with children through skills and talent enhancements.
Many schools are now moving away from the old passe style of homework into a more project style environment so that children can develop every day skills and develop a worldview around them. It is no more just a case of repeating what what they have been told in the classroom.
How has the industry responded to EDS’s, Early Development Centres, and what challenges have they had?
EDC’s are what we have traditionally called nursery schools, creches or baby centres. These institutions have been very hard hit during this time. They have not been supported by government in the same way as schools and universities. They have been left to fend for themselves without any help or finding.
EDC’s are predominately small businesses, run by women out in the townships and rural areas. As more people work from home, lose their jobs, or fear of losing their income, they are not sending their children to these centres anymore. This has put an enormous strain on this industry and it has taken a private court case to force the much needed government funding.
Research has shown that the most important development years for children are from birth to the age of 7. These critical years determine your behavioural patterns and your character. This is why this is such an important sector but because there are no large corporations in this space, they do not have the power to lobby government for funding.
Most of these EDC’s are operating at less than 10% of their capacity. No small business can survive on this. It is sad that many people don’t realise the knock on effect that this has on a small business, where people are having to use less of these services.
Who is best suited to owning a Sherpa Kids franchise?
We look for a Mom who has a very strong understanding of the importance of out of school, after care service. Mom’s who perhaps have had a bad experience of after care, so they understand and want to be involved with a more professional and established outfit.
We don’t necessarily take on teachers but rather business professionals such as lawyers, engineers, chartered accountants or phycologists.
This is not the easiest of Franchises to get into because you are working with children so you need to have your head screwed on properly. It is a huge level of responsibility in terms of looking after other peoples’ children. You are a 3rd party operating inside a school property. Sherpa Kids are all about community development.
The ideal person should have excellent communication skills, client care and the fundamentals of working with children.
It’s vital that the people you bring into the business have the same ethos. It’s not an easy thing because you are playing a part in raising responsible adults.
What training do you offer a new franchisee?
Training is broken down into two components. The first involves the day to day business operations, business admin, business development and quality assurance model. There are also certifications you need such as CPR and First Aid training.
The second component involves on the ground, day to day running and sustainability to ensure your business grows and succeeds. We do this all over a 2 to 3 week period so that the trainees don’t get information overload.
We also offer an online training platform which both franchisees and their staff are able to access. In addition, there are about 40 courses of continuous development and refresher training. We have also had to add additional training for Covid as well as socio emotional wellness and mental well-being for children.
What has being a member of FASA meant for you and your franchise?
It has been very critical for us. Because our franchise comes from New Zealand and Australia it is very important that they know that we are guide by the 4 principles of FASA.
New Zealand and Australia, like us, are very active members in the franchise association in the country that this Franchise comes from and are leaders in the franchise business, so it’s important the we also have that strong connection with a body like FASA.
Being a member of FASA allows our franchisees to have confidence in us. They know that we are working with the leading franchise association in the country and in the event of a dispute, we have a process for that dispute to be managed by FASA, as opposed to having lawyers letter flying around.
About Sherpa Kids
Sherpa Kids franchise was founded in New Zealand in 1986 where it quickly expanded to Australia, Canada, Ireland, England and South Africa. Today, Sherpa Kids franchises can be found in over 60 sites throughout many parts of South Africa and connects with over 5000 families. Sherpa Kids focuses on school age, after care for children. Our children matter to our future. Let’s give them the best grounding we can.
If this, Sherpa Kids franchise sounds like something that you would like to get involved with, or find out more information about it, you can contact Sherpa Kids here